Book Club – 6 Recommended Reads

Book Club Summer Reads

I’ve not written a book club post for ages, or any post for that matter, except for a G&T recipe which pretty much sums up January for me! But now holidays are over I’m excited to blog again.  I hope that you had a relaxing break over the festive season?

Now, my new Townsville Book Club is so much fun but we haven’t been particularly good on the reading front let alone discussing books so I took the opportunity over our extended holiday to catchup on reading and have decided to put all the book reviews in one big book club post in case you are looking for some books to read too. So here we have my latest 6 recommended reads.

First up are these 3…

Book Club Summer Reads

Saltwater by Cathy McLennan

This was actually picked as one of our Book Club books to read because it was written by a local Magistrate and was set in Townsville.

When Cathy McLennan first steps into Townsville’s Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Legal Service as a young graduate she isn’t expecting a major murder case to land on her desk. The accused are four teenage boys whose family connections stretch across the water to Palm Island. As she battles to prove herself in the courtroom, Cathy realises that the truth is far more complex than she first thought. She starts to question who are the criminals and who are the victims”.

I found this book eye opening as it discussed a whole world I, shamefully, previously knew nothing about. It raises many questions about indigenous affairs, the legal system and children. It’s written like it’s a crime fiction but it is in fact a true story which makes it even more compelling. I found it hard to put down but also testing to read as the issues tackled invoke, anger, frustration, disgust, fear, wonder and much more.

The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah

This one is a great summer read. I couldn’t put it down. It’s a beautiful novel that had me bawling in parts so if you are reading it pool/beach side waterproof mascara might be a good idea!

“Bravery, courage, fear and love in a time of war. Despite their differences, sisters Viann and Isabelle have always been close. Younger, bolder Isabelle lives in Paris while Viann is content with life in the French countryside with her husband Antoine and their daughter. But when the Second World War strikes, Antoine is sent off to fight and Viann finds herself isolated so Isabelle is sent by their father to help her. As the war progresses, the sisters’ relationship and strength is tested. With life changing in unbelievably horrific ways, Viann and Isabelle will find themselves facing frightening situations and responding in ways they never thought possible as bravery and resistance take different forms in each of their actions. Vivid and exquisite in its illumination of a time and place that was filled with atrocities, but also humanity and strength” The Book Depository

Book Club wouldn’t be complete without some tasty nibbles now would it? This is a South African charcuterie plate that we had at a gorgeous winery on holidays. The Biltong and Rooibos jelly were delicious SA touches, as was the wine!

Book Club Cheese Platter South African style

The Little Paris Bookshop by Nina George

This book was a delight to read, in fact everything about it was delightful, the way it is written and the love stories within it.

Monsieur Perdu calls himself a literary apothecary. From his floating bookstore in a barge on the Seine, he prescribes novels for the hardships of life. Using his intuitive feel for the exact book a reader needs, Perdu mends broken hearts and souls. The only person he can’t seem to heal through literature is himself; he’s still haunted by heartbreak after his great love disappeared. She left him with only a letter, which he has never opened.

After Perdu is finally tempted to read the letter, he hauls anchor and departs on a mission to the south of France, hoping to make peace with his loss and discover the end of the story. Joined by a bestselling but blocked author and a lovelorn Italian chef, Perdu travels along the country’s rivers, dispensing his wisdom and his books, showing that the literary world can take the human soul on a journey to heal itself.

Internationally bestselling and filled with warmth and adventure, The Little Paris Bookshop is a love letter to books, meant for anyone who believes in the power of stories to shape people’s lives.


Fight Like A Girl


Fight Like A Girl by Clementine Ford

I read this while at the beach, it’s quite a full on feminist manifesto so was firing me up while also trying to relax!

The writing style & language isn’t for everyone but the powerful insights and messages, in my opinion, need to be heard & action taken. If you want an in depth book club discussion this is a book that will give you just that but it’s a much wider & ongoing discussion that is needed!

Her book opens our eyes not just to the overt and the horrific, but to the insidious, the unspoken or the disguised sexism, urging us against the habit of just making a commitment to equality and then going about our days beneath inequality’s umbrella. Katherine Brabon, SMH


When Breath Becomes Air

When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi

Completely different to Clementines book I read this book in two days because I couldn’t put it down. This is a book that I recommend everyone read, it’s beautiful, heartbreaking, insightful, philosphical, devastating, powerful – I don’t really have adequate words to describe it. Read it!

At the age of thirty-six, on the verge of completing a decade’s training as a neurosurgeon, Paul Kalanithi was diagnosed with inoperable lung cancer. One day he was a doctor treating the dying, the next he was a patient struggling to live. When Breath Becomes Air chronicles Kalanithi’s transformation from a medical student asking what makes a virtuous and meaningful life into a neurosurgeon working in the core of human identity – the brain – and finally into a patient and a new father. What makes life worth living in the face of death? What do you do when when life is catastrophically interrupted? What does it mean to have a child as your own life fades away? Paul Kalanithi died while working on this profoundly moving book, yet his words live on as a guide to us all. When Breath Becomes Air is a life-affirming reflection on facing our mortality and on the relationship between doctor and patient, from a gifted writer who became both. The Book Depository

Finally, on a much lighter note


The Life Changing Magic of Not Giving A F**k by Sarah Knight

Well can I just say that I was reading this on the eve of my daughters birthday party last November and I took it’s message to heart. My daughter wanted a Unicorn Cake for her party, I’d already made one on her actual day and 24 “Oreo Pops” for her to take to school so by the time 11pm rolled and a few glasses of wine I really could not give a F**k about what the party cake really looked like, even though I did really try to make it a good unicorn – all the kids want is the icing anyway isn’t it? So this was the result…

Disaster Unicorn Cake

Just keeping it real for you here and do you know what? The giggles this cake has given has really made the epic fail worth it. Rather than scrap the cake and start again, staying up all night to achieve perfection I went to bed and we’ve now got a hilarious memory that we can laugh about for ever more. (It has been described as a woodpecker, snowman, seahorse and my personal favourite Mr Squiggle on acid!!).

Anyway back to the book,

Sarah Knight’s The Life-Changing Magic of Not Giving a F*ck is a brilliant, hilarious homage to The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, showing how to shed your mental clutter for good.

Aimed at overachieving but dissatisfied people everywhere. Sarah’s inspirational two-step “NotSorry” program shows how unleashing the power of not giving a fuck will help you shed unwanted guilt and obligations to redirect time, energy, and enthusiasm to your true priorities. Sarah reveals why giving a fuck about what other people think is your worst enemy-and how to stop doing it; how to sort your fucks into four essential categories; simple criteria for whether or not you should give a fuck (i.e. “Does this affect anyone other than me?”); and the two keys to successfully not giving a fuck without also being an asshole. Daily Review

Have you read any good books lately? Are you in a book club? Can you see a Unicorn in my cake?

*I am an affiliate of The Book Depository which means no difference to you but if you buy a book through one of the links on this page I may get a coffee out of it but probably not in Townsville where coffee is an outrageous $4.50 a cup!!

18 comments on “Book Club – 6 Recommended Reads

  1. Raychael Case
    January 31, 2017 at 7:45 am

    Once my diploma finally finish, if I have any free time this year, I want to get back to reading books on a daily basis. After reading this, I’m going to start with The Nightingale.

    • Vicki
      January 31, 2017 at 11:12 am

      You have so much going on! Time out to read is good too, The Nightingale is a lovely one to start with.

  2. Nicole @ The Builder's Wife
    January 31, 2017 at 8:48 am

    Your cake looks 100 times better than my best ever. I am just not a cake decorator. Thank you for the book suggestions, I am ready for a bit of reading xx

    • Vicki
      January 31, 2017 at 11:12 am

      Turns out I’m not a cake decorator either but a good eater of it. I’ve really enjoyed the downtime for reading.

  3. Sammie @ The Annoyed Thyroid
    January 31, 2017 at 3:11 pm

    I loved that unicorn cake – it was totally you-nique. Since we’ve enforced our own policy on reading before bed, I’ve rediscovered my love of reading. I can’t stop and won’t stop! When Breath Becomes Air is one of my all time favourites and I definitely want to have a read of Sarah Knight’s – I’ve heard such good things about it!

    • Vicki
      January 31, 2017 at 5:01 pm

      That’s a great policy! I really enjoyed Sarah Knights book – I think you’ll like it too, When Breath Becomes Air is up there with one of my favourites too. x

  4. Robyna | the mummy and the minx
    January 31, 2017 at 8:24 pm

    My son and I are currently reading Wonder and it’s beautiful.

    • Vicki
      February 1, 2017 at 11:49 am

      I will have to add that to my list – thanks.

    January 31, 2017 at 9:15 pm

    I’ve been really bad at reading for a long while, I bought a book last year and have just started reading it this year. I’m hoping to finish it this year! I love your suggestions, will have to keep note for when I finish my book.

    • Vicki
      February 1, 2017 at 11:50 am

      Toddlers in the house do that to you! I hope you do get to finish your book soon. x

  6. Shannon@ my2morrows
    January 31, 2017 at 9:22 pm

    Love that cake so much! I read Sarah Knights book recently too. Then followed it up with Mark Manson’s book of a similar title. And i listened to fight like a girl on audible. So powerful as Clementine narrated it! When breath becomes air is on my list… might habe to make it next. Xx

    • Vicki
      February 1, 2017 at 11:51 am

      That cake still makes me laugh (and laughed at!) Will check out Mark Manson’s book

  7. Karin @ Calm to Conniption
    February 2, 2017 at 7:57 pm

    SaltWater sounds really good. I will have to add to my neverending list on Good Reads. I’m reading Em Rusciano’s Try Hard at the moment and have caught myself laughing out loud a couple of times already.

    • Vicki
      February 2, 2017 at 10:18 pm

      Oh I’ll have to read that, need a good LOL book. I’m onto Jodi Picoult’s latest and I’m finding it an uncomfortable read.

  8. Jodi Gibson
    February 2, 2017 at 8:43 pm

    Aw that cake! I think you did a ripper job just attempting it!
    I’ve just finished Sunni Overend’s THE DANGERS OF TRUFFLE HUNTING, and I absolutely adored it.

    • Vicki
      February 2, 2017 at 10:18 pm

      Ha! Thank you. I will add that book to my list, thanks

  9. Orlaith
    February 4, 2017 at 10:30 pm

    I loved “Home Front” by Kristin Hannah. The first book I have read since my pregnancy last year and I read it quickly and cried. Beautiful. Nightingale next ! Thank you Vicki. Hoping all is good x

    • Vicki
      February 5, 2017 at 4:01 pm

      Hi Orlaith, a baby!? congratulations lovely, I hope everything is going well? I’m adding Home Front to my list. x

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